Guest Blogger

An Old-School Spin on STEAM Programming

Children experience engineering

At the 53rd Street branch of the New York Public Library, STEAM programming is in high demand, especially with our youngest library users. So how do you keep kids engaged after months and months of weekly programs? Fellow children’s librarian Grace Zell and I found an exciting new approach to STEAM programming from an unlikely source: Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) novels. For those less familiar with the CYOA set up, these stories are written from a second-person perspective and allow readers to step into the role of the protagonist, choosing the actions they take along the way. While the original series ran from 1979-1998, a relaunch began in the early 2000s and new titles, in a variety of genres and reading levels, are still being published. Grace and I created three distinct program plans, each featuring a series of STEAM challenges. These included coding, architectural, engineering, and simple puzzle…

Blogger Lisa Nowlain

Circulating tech kits to teachers

The California State Library has a grant opportunity called Pitch-an-Idea. We were lucky enough to get one of their grants and create a Technology Lending Library for teachers and after-school providers. All teachers need is a library card to check these kits out for a month, and non-profits sign an agreement for their employees. What makes this unique is that the kits are not for individual checkouts – they’re made to be used in school or after-school environments. It has built a lot of great partnerships with schools and teachers. We have done outreach at principal’s meetings, with the Superintendent’s Office, at teacher meetings, at local events with non-profits, and more, and it is always great to have something to offer that makes people’s eyes light up and say, “Really?”   We’re currently halfway through our grant period, and we’ve hit some speed bumps for sure, but the tech is circulating….

Guest Blogger

Roblox Mania

School age and tween library users will let you know the hottest computer gaming webpages—just ask them or watch them.  I remember the days of high IMVU use, which I admit was not a personal favorite.  I was thrilled when Minecraft became all the rage, as it allows users to create and build…in other words, teaching young people geometry and spatial skills underhandedly, while they were having fun.

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Teaching Children Banned Words

Enlightening & Teaching 2017 was a whirlwind year, with many, many unprecedented changes, challenges and fear.  To help our youngest patrons, it is critically important that we aid in their enlightenment, making them more socially aware, teaching them new concepts, and making them more culturally competent. For 2018, I encourage you to explore these terms through your youth programming.  This will aid not only the children, but their parents as well.  So, let’s go!  Following each term will be suggestions for aiding you deliver these important concepts: Diversity My wife – Marianne Dolce, a highly successful school media specialist  – showed me how to take a picture book or a story and build a theme from it – to reverse the storytime building process, and thereby integrate diverse materials into storytime – Every. Single Week. Read up on ALA’s “Importance of Diversity” Entitlement These quick “fables” help teach children all…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

2018 And Life to Go: Resolutions Anyone?!

Not Another New Year’s Resolution Article I promise.  No eye candy.  No videos strung by html with care.  But it is Elf themed, which you need to watch if you haven’t already. You’ve got just six weeks and four days before the new year makes you keep writing 2017 for a few weeks.  Resolution lists anyone?  Please tell me you aren’t recycling last years, or even lamely “upcycling” them, just to sound trendy or get your friends off your back.  Let’s get real, and let’s apply it to our professional world.  Here we go… Mentoring For the love of candy canes, you have a story to tell, and believe it or not, you could totally help out an up and coming mentee.  No, really.  And it’s easy to get matched. For example, Florida Library Association has a mentoring program every year, that officially only runs one year at a time,…